We all face storms, says Dr. Jerry Vines, and none of us can escape them. If we’re not in a storm right now, we’re either coming out of a storm or will face a storm in the future.
Vines doesn’t say this because he’s a pessimist. On the contrary, in the 50 years he spent as a pastor, he experienced and preached about God’s goodness. The former pastor of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida, was also president of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1989 and 1990. Even now in retirement, Vines still preaches on God’s goodness wherever he can.
One of his favorite examples of God’s goodness was how Jesus walked on the water (see Matthew 14:22-33). The disciples were facing a vicious storm, but Jesus appeared in the midst of it, walking toward them on the waves. As soon as they helped Him into the boat, the storm stopped. Calm finally came.
As we come out of the pandemic, Vines believes many are searching for that same calm in the storm. People are hungry for peace after months of unending turmoil. Perhaps you are, too.
How to Respond to Your Storms
Vines has faced his fair share of personal storms, the latest of which involved back surgery when a couple of bones in his lower spinal column caused him issues. Vines calls it a “minor storm,” but it didn’t necessarily feel that way.
“I'm not very good at handling pain,” Vines laughs.
The number one thing that has carried him through each storm he’s faced has been his personal times with Jesus. In fact, above all else, he encourages believers to prioritize their devotions every day.
“The devotional time, I think, is absolutely essential for a Christian,” he says. “And what I mean by ‘devotional time’ is that we read the Bible, where the Lord speaks to us. Then we pray, and we speak to the Lord.”
As we’re faithful to seek God through our storms, we will see the fruit, Vines says. We can never earn God’s favor or grace, but we can position ourselves to receive it. Often, that favor comes in the form of a miracle when our trials are the fiercest.
Scriptures for When You’re Facing a Storm
What gives Vines the most comfort during times of struggle is the Word of God, especially the book of Psalms.
“I’ve found that the Psalms always provide some real help,” he says. “Psalms is the book of the Bible that helps us with our emotional experiences. With virtually any kind of emotional need we have, we can find something in the Psalms that helps us.”
There are countless passages in Scripture that we can cling to when we’re facing a storm, including the ones below:
“Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved” (Psalm 55:22, ESV).
“I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord” (Psalm 40:1-3).
“So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?’” (Hebrews 13:6).
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you” (Isaiah 43:2).
“I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed” (Psalm 34:4-5).
Come watch Dr. Jerry Vines preach at the Ark Encounter on August 2! Hurry and save your seat for the 40 Days & Nights of Gospel Music. Tickets are going fast!